Monday, 7 July 2014

Brazil vs Germany


2014 Fifa World Cup semi-final

  • Venue: Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte
  • Date: Tuesday, 8 July
  • Kick-off: 21:00 BST
Coverage: BBC Sport website, AllScores.co.uk, ITV, BBC Radio 5 live and BBC One

TEAM NEWS


Brazil captain Thiago Silva is banned, so Dante will deputise, but they have Luis Gustavo back from suspension.

With Neymar injured, Brazil could field a central midfield three, or else pick an attack-minded replacement such as Willian or Bernard.

Germany coach Joachim Low must decide whether to recall centre-back Per Mertesacker, who was left out against France for tactical reasons.

Low has reported no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match.

MATCH PREVIEW


Without Neymar, their leading scorer and talisman, and without suspended captain Thiago Siva, Brazil are going to have to do it the hard way if they are going to make the final of their own World Cup.

Neymar's controversial tournament-ending back injury has unsurprisingly dominated the build-up to their semi-final with the impressive Germans.

Billed as the World Cup's poster boy for so long, the 22-year-old has absolutely lived up to expectations. His four goals and decisive penalty in the shootout win over Chile has arguably carried his country this far. Now it is up to Luiz Felipe Scolari to conjure up a Plan B from within his squad.

Brazilian great Zico has said ahead of the match: "The players have a chance to draw energy from Neymar's sacrifice. They need to leave their souls on the pitch as a tribute for this kid."


This is Brazil's first World Cup semi-final since 2002, a tournament they ultimately went on to win by beating Germany in the final. They have won their last three World Cup semi-finals, so Brazil expects, the pressure is close to boiling point - but does Scolari have the tools to deliver?

One man who can relate to the weight of expectation felt by a host nation is Germany's head coach Joachim Low. He was assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann in 2006 when as hosts Germany were eliminated in the final four.

They suffered another semi-final exit in South Africa four years ago and now stand at the precipice once again. Will they finally make it back to a World Cup final, for an eighth time, or is an unwanted hat-trick of successive semi-final eliminations about to befall them?

Low has spoken about the German players being disappointed they will not get chance to test themselves against the best, a nod to Neymar, but he also had a word of warning for the hosts.

"I think for all Germans one things for sure - we desperately want to play in the Maracana in Rio again (for the final)," he said. "We're not done yet."

MATCH FACTS


Head-to-head

  • Brazil and Germany have played more World Cup matches than any other side (102 and 104 respectively), but have only met once before at the tournament. That was the 2002 final, won 2-0 by the Brazilians.
  • Honours are even in the three subsequent meetings. The sides drew 1-1 in a friendly in 2004, Brazil won 3-2 in a Confederations Cup semi-final in 2005 and Germany recorded a 3-2 victory in a friendly in 2011. All those matches were on German soil.
  • Brazil have scored in each of their last 10 meetings with Germany, averaging 2.2 goals per game

Brazil

  • Brazil committed more fouls (31) against Colombia than they have in any other World Cup match since such data has been recorded (starting in 1966).
  • Their only defeat in the last 26 games came against Switzerland last August (W19, D6, L1).
  • They are unbeaten in 42 successive home matches, with their last defeat coming against Paraguay in August 2002.
  • The Brazilians have reached the last four of the World Cup for the 11th time, although this will only be their eighth semi-final (because of different formats at earlier tournaments).
  • The only semi-final they have lost was their first, against Italy in 1938. They have won five times and drawn once - with that draw followed by a penalty shootout win against the Dutch in 1998.
  • Injured Brazilian striker Neymar has played a part in 50% of Brazil's 10 goals at this World Cup (four goals, one assist).
Germany
  • Germany (including West Germany) have reached the last four for the 13th time at a World Cup, although this will be their 12th semi-final (they reached the 1974 final after coming through a second group stage).
  • The Germans are the first country to reach four successive World Cup semi-finals.
  • Their record in their 11 previous semi-finals is four wins, five defeats and two draws - both of which were followed by penalty shootouts which they won.
  • Germany are unbeaten in their last 16 internationals (W11, D5), the best run of any side still involved at the World Cup.
  • Germany (three) have kept more clean sheets at this World Cup than any other country. Only Ghana and Algeria have managed to breach the Germans defence so far.
  • Miroslav Klose could make his 23rd appearance in a World Cup match, a total bettered only by Lothar Matthaus (25). Paolo Maldini also played 23 games at the tournament.
Taken from BBC Sport